What's New in TestStand 2016

Publish Date: Sep 08, 2016 | 4 Ratings | 5.00 out of 5 | Print

Overview

TestStand is used to develop test sequences, consolidate test data, and publish results to a report or database. As the industry-standard in test management software, TestStand provides an extensible framework that can be expanded to increase throughput in the most complex of test systems. Since the initial release in 1998, NI has demonstrated a commitment to increasing productivity for the more than 10,000 developers worldwide using this software. The following article explains the new features added to TestStand 2016 to further enable test sequence developers.

Table of Contents

  1. TestStand Environments
  2. Property Loader Redesign
  3. TestStand Native Enumeration Data Type
  4. Execution Profiler
  5. Sequence Editor Productivity Improvements
  6. New Instructor-Led Training Available
  7. Additional Enhancements
  8. TestStand 2016 Free Trial

1. TestStand Environments

TestStand 2016 allows for the independent customization of configuration settings for different applications, as well safe execution of such applications side-by-side.


These benefits come as a product of environments, a concept introduced in 2016 that allows for the specification of separate TestStand directories. This means users can customize station options, sequence editor configurations, user management, and other configuration settings stored in these directories for different TestStand applications. Coupled with a refactor of TestExec.ini into discrete configuration files, environment files give users the ability to define the exact conditions for TestStand to load at Engine launch.  A new instance of the Engine with an entirely separate environment configuration can be launched to execute independent executables side-by-side.

 

Figure 1 - Users can specify the environment for TestStand to load through a command line entry, or select and edit an environment file to load at Sequence Editor relaunch as a configure menu option.

 

Environment configurations simplify the development of multiple independent TestStand applications at the same time. Users can specify only the components they need when customizing for an application. If a directory is not specified in the environment file, TestStand will automatically map to the location of that directory for the default, global environment.

Figure 2 - TestStand environments allow users to customize previously global configuration settings in local configuration directories.

 

TestStand Environment files (.tsenv) allow for the specification of the TestStand CommonAppData Directory, the TestStand Public Directory, and the TestStand LocalAppData Directory. Features customizable in each directory are listed below:

Figure 3 - Prior to 2016, users could not specify separate TestStand configuration directories per application, and had to instead modify components individually.

 

TestExec.ini is a configuration file in the Cfg directory that contains many Engine settings, including search directories, type palettes, and adapter settings. Previously when developing multiple independent applications, it was necessary to create distinct copies of Testxec.ini for each project. In TestStand 2016, TestExec.ini has been refactored into several discrete configuration files, with settings grouped logically by use.


When deploying to production, the TestStand Deployment Utility is aware of environments and is able to distribute TestStand Environment files (.tsenv) along with supporting configuration files and directories.

 

Back to Top

2. Property Loader Redesign

The Property Loader provides a mechanism to dynamically load test limits and variables into an application. This allows developers to easily update their sequence according to new test requirements, and propagate these changes to other testers. The redesign of the Property Loader in TestStand 2016 increase the intuitiveness and usability of this tool.


Enhanced Configuration Support
Previously, the Property Loader supported property sources in Excel, Text, and csv format, as well as select databases. In 2016 support is extended to include custom formats through a plugin framework. Users can take advantage of this architecture to implement a plugin in LabVIEW/C/C++, or .NET that loads properties to/from any file format.


Increased Usability
The 2016 Property Loader features a number of updates designed to increase the usability of this tool during sequence development. The file format for specifying basic types, arrays, and container data types is improved. In addition, the Property Loader Step is now integrated into the Step Settings pane rather than displaying as a modal dialog.


Users can expect a consistent interface for loading properties and variables whether working with this step or the Import/Export tool. When identifying variables using the Import/Export tool or in the configuration dialog of the Step Settings pane, users can expand the Property Selector tree to easily select any variable in the sequence file.

 

Figure 4 - A Property Selector tree simplifies the specification of TestStand variables on import/export.

 

The redesign also adds the abilities to preview properties at edit time, better diagnose failures on import, and includes sequence analyzer rules to specifically validate Property Loader Steps.


Aliasing
The TestStand 2016 Property Loader makes it easier to define properties in the source file and map to any variable in TestStand. This tool now includes support for aliasing, allowing users to define their properties according to logical names and simply map to TestStand parameters through an alias file.

Figure 5 - Support for aliasing enables users to store properties by logical name in the file format of their choice.

 

Back to Top

3. TestStand Native Enumeration Data Type

TestStand 2016 adds a native enumeration (enum) data type, eliminating the need to store enum data as a container within TestStand. This data type can be used to easily pass data to and from enums defined in code modules. The LabVIEW, .NET, and Active X/COM adapters require enum definitions between TestStand and code modules to match at run time. Any errors are detected and reported in TestStand at edit time for efficient debugging of type conflicts.

 

Figure 6 - A native TestStand enumeration data type allows for easier mapping to enums defined in test code modules.

 

Back to Top

4. Execution Profiler

Built on the infrastructure of the Resource Usage Profiler, the Execution Profiler allows for the monitoring of sequence performance at the step level. A user can now monitor the time required for individual steps to execute, and even export the results to disk for further analysis. This tool provides visibility into the execution time and parallelism of a sequence that can help identify any steps or substeps that might be causing a bottleneck.

 

Figure 7 - The Execution profiler extends the functionality of the Resource Usage Profiler by including metrics on step time for increased monitoring and troubleshooting of test sequences.

 

Back to Top

5. Sequence Editor Productivity Improvements

TestStand 2016 features a number of updates to the Sequencer Editor designed to increase developer productivity. These include a new right click shortcut that allows for the creation of a new sequence from a set of selected steps, the ability to drag a sequence to the step list to create a sequence call step, as well as the ability to smartly rename variables across all references in expressions, comments, and strings. Overall, these features serve to enable faster, easier sequence development.

 

Figure 8 - The Smart Rename features uses contextual information to better detect references to a variable as compared to Find/Replace methods.

 

Back to Top

6. New Instructor-Led Training Available

 

Course Name: Developing Test Programs Using TestStand
Recommended for: Beginners
Learn to…

 

  • Develop modular test applications and distribute them to test stations
  • Execute series or parallel test sequences
  • Call test code modules from other environments
  • Generate test reports

 

Course Name: Architecting Test Systems Using TestStand
Recommended for: Architects
Learn to customize the TestStand environment to further customize your needs…

 

  • Customize process models
  • Modify test execution across multiple sequences
  • Create and customize user interfaces
  • Customize the contents of a test report
  • Create custom step types to support test developers

 

Back to Top

7. Additional Enhancements

 

See the TestStand 2016 Help document to learn about additional features in TestStand 2016.

 

Back to Top

8. TestStand 2016 Free Trial

 

Download the full-featured TestStand 2016 evaluation software to try out these new features.

 

 

Back to Top

Bookmark & Share


Ratings

Rate this document

Answered Your Question?
Yes No

Submit